SHOPPING FOR A LIVING: PETE'S WORK ESSENTIALS AS PERSONAL SHOPPER FOR TOPMAN

I was a Personal Shopper in one of my roles last year. I found it quite surprising that hardly anyone knew that the job even existed and that the service was for free (for most large department stores, anyway). So I thought we'd get Pete on board to give you an insight and share what's involved in his role as a Personal Shopper for Topshop/Topman in Melbourne's Chapel Street Store.
What's on your bedside table?I like to keep my home environment, just like my work environment, clear of clutter, so you won’t find much on my bedside table, but a framed postcard with a map of the world on it. However in that top draw is a copy of Ex-Editor of Vogue Magazine, Kirstie Clements new book, The Vogue Factor, good reading… as well as my blank notepad, I get majority of my best and most creative ideas, moments before I fall asleep.How would you spend your last $100?More than likely on something I do not need, and that I would have lost interest in within a couple of months of purchasing it… impulse shopping, bad habit of mine.Current obsessions:An obsession I have had since I was a boy, is my love of cars. I am still dreaming of how to marry my love of the Styling world, to that of Automobiles. Otherwise I enjoy surfing the web for current trends in Fashion and Interior Styling for guys. My current favourite is I Am Galla, a young American guy who blogs his heart out with impeccable, Urban Style. Tumblr is a powerful sharing tool, along with Instagram... But who isn’t obsessed with Instagram right now? (@petegdd)First memory of getting your foot in the Fashion Styling door?I can still feel the sweat in my palms and hear the nerves in my voice from 2010 as I cold-called a Stylist in Sydney who I had heard might be looking for an assistant. 2.5 years later I was Styling myself and being headhunted by Topman for their Sydney launch!Experience/Study:I’ve dappled in multiple creative short courses such as Certificate IV in Colour & Design, Fashion Business, Photography and even Landscape Architecture… all in the pursuit to find what I really wanted in a creative career. However, nothing can compete with the 3 years I did working on set, assisting and styling. Studies certainly contribute but the real skill is brought out when thrown in the deep end!

Favourite and least favourite parts of your role as a Personal Shopper?I’d have to say, the most enjoyable part of my job as a Personal Shopper for Topman, is not only meeting brand new people every day, but helping those people bring out their true personality with the clothes they wear on their back. Rebuilding confidence and attitude where it may have been lost a long the way. You’d be surprised at how many customers return and thank the Personal Shoppers on employment they’ve acquired, successful first dates and the boost of morale that their pride of their new wardrobe gives them!The least enjoyable part of my job would probably have to be the obligation we have to attend social events and fashion launches being ambassadors for the brand… just kidding. That’s great too.A day in the life of Pete...Well nothing usually gets done until after my sunrise run and shot of coffee, but then the morning see’s me briefing my team on the days appointments, walking the store to see’s what’s new, weekly deliveries from the UK means I need to keep on top of stock. Then will read over each appointment brief and pull clothes and accessories for the gents and dress their private change rooms in suggested outfits and coordinated categories for suit, evening and casual wear. After all that the fun stuff begins! I hang out with the guys for an hour each sometimes two, playing dress ups and try beating their high scores on the Xbox 360 we have! It’s a real “Man Cave” where I work, and takes the stress guys can sometimes feel, out of shopping.Then if there is any time left over in the day, I’ll follow up past appointments and research what else is new and due for release for gents at Topman.Workplace essentials: Nespresso coffee machine switched on, chilled Sapporo beer in the fridge, fresh gourmet brownies and a pile of current men’s fashion magazines... all complimentary for our clients of course. An open mind and an active imagination are also great tools, as well as compassion, you’re dealing with real people in real life, so I need to keep it REAL!Favourite projects so far?One of my more memorable collaborations was in my early days with an Interior Stylist on a shoot for Habitat Magazine, it was all built around the ‘Power of Clashing Colour’ I’ve always had a passion for colour and it’s coordination, so to begin at this level of publication on a brief I felt strongly about, was very reassuring that styling was the right career direction for me.Whats next?I have been approached to contribute some trend forecasting and general ‘Sprucing Up’ advice for an online ‘zine’ for men, created by an acquaintance back in Sydney. You’ll find it at Designer Man Cave and will be a great chance for me to exercise some journalism skills - so keep your eyes peeled!
All Photos: Sent from Pete to The Love Assembly